Art Industry News: Millennial Buyers Were Absolutely Critical to the Art Market’s Survival in 2020 + Other Stories

Plus, Philadelphia museums jointly announce their reopening and a Korean singer is in hot water for allegedly plagiarizing Jeff Koons.

TEFAF Maastricht. Photo by Loraine Bodewes.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 5.


Previously Unknown El Greco Surfaces in Spain – After more than two years of study, scholars at a Spanish university have identified a small painting of Christ wearing the crown of thorns as the work of the Renaissance painter El Greco. But not everyone agrees with their assessment of the work, which is owned by a private collector. An art history professor at Madrid’s Universidad Autonoma says the painting looks “reworked and restored—the mouth is terrible, so are the cross, hands, and signature.” (El PaísThe Art Newspaper)

Francois Pinault’s New Project Nears Completion – More than two decades since its inception, the private museum in Paris conceived by billionaire Christie’s owner François Pinault is preparing to open. The Bourse de Commerce-Pinault is situated just blocks from the Louvre. Over the years, construction hiccups resulted in Pinault’s eschewing Paris to open two museums, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, in Venice. Now, after a forced hiatus due to the pandemic, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, the director of Pinault Collection, views the new arts venue as “a kind of accelerator: it is positive disruption.” (The Art Newspaper)

Why Art Institutions Need to Address Accessibility – Sara Reisman, director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation in New York, says that this year’s surge in awareness of equity issues includes disability rights—and it is high time that arts institutions reconsider their own accessibility. A working group she helped form called Access Check will survey artists and cultural producers with disabilities about their experiences in the art world and offer an evaluative tool for institutions to consider their blind spots. (ARTnews)

Philadelphia Cultural Institutions Announce Reopening – Five institutions—the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art—will reopen this month after being closed since November. Eastern State Penitentiary plans to reopen in March; the Rodin Museum will reopen later in the spring. (Press release)


Millennial Art Buyers Helped the Market Survive 2020 – Millennials have officially entered the major leagues when it comes to bidding on luxury items ranging from diamonds to handbags. According to Sotheby’s Amy Cappellazzo, the number of under-40 collectors bidding at the house doubled last year. They often hail from the technology industry, prefer to bid by app or online, and rarely ask to see condition reports, she said. (Wall Street Journal)

Galleries Launch New Online Initiative – A group of international galleries have teamed up to launch a new platform called Galleries Curate, which will present 21 collaborative exhibitions in their spaces (viewable online) between now and May 30. Participants include A Gentil Carioca, Sadie Coles HQ, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, and Goodman Gallery. (Press release)


UK Shadow Secretary for Culture Is Hospitalized – The UK’s shadow secretary for culture, media, and sport, Jo Stevens, from the Labour party, is being treated in the hospital for COVID-19. Stevens is the opposition head for culture, sitting across the house floor from culture secretary Oliver Dowden. (Guardian)

Florence Nightingale Museum Faces Closure – The London museum is closing its doors “for the foreseeable future” in an effort to stave off bankruptcy. The museum, which gets almost all of its income from admission, will close beginning February 28 regardless of the status of lockdown restrictions in the capital. (Evening Standard)


Inside the US Army’s Nazi Art Cache – The New Yorker visits a little-known site in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the unlikely home of one of the world’s largest troves of Nazi art. After World War II, it was agreed that Nazi art would be seized, but not destroyed. Since Germany has not expressed a strong interest in seeing the works returned, it is likely that they will continue to sit in Virginia for a while longer. (New Yorker

Singer Solbi Criticized for Copying Koons Design – The Korean singer and painter is under fire for uploading a video of herself eating a cake that strongly resembles the work Play-Doh by Jeff Koons. Solbi admitted she drew inspiration from the sculpture, but said, “Would I have chosen [Koons] if I wanted to plagiarize?” Still, fans were not pleased that a version of the cake, which she had said was only for her consumption, was being offered for sale online. (Korea Boo)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.